Growing Pains – How do Games Get Taken Seriously?

It’s happened again. Some publisher has decided that the best way to promote a game about guns is to have a woman show off her boobs whilst holding some said guns.

This has caused some people a bit of worry as, yet again, games are doing nothing to save themselves from the label of ‘boy’s toys’.

What can we do to stop this? Can we? Should we?

The problem is thus. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (GR:FS) has a new promotional advert for it. This advert is a part of the ‘Team Ghost’ series were some ‘celebs’ are seen playing the game. So far, so predicatable.

This advert, however, is nothing but senseless and lazy. It ‘stars’ Coco. I don’t know her either, click on her name for the Wikipedia page. She’s shooting guns (in slo-motion, naturally) and showing off her arse a whole lot.

Senseless and Lazy.

GR:FS is shaping up to be a pretty solid shooter with awful Kinect controls crowbarred into the mix and therefore doesn’t need this coverage. More importantly, games don’t need this kind of coverage. This advert is self serving and lazy, to say the least. It does nothing to introduce or excite ‘new’ fans. It’s only there for the titilation of 14 year old boys who have already decided they’ll get the game as ‘CODs 4 FagS!!1!’ and that ‘BF3 Blowz!’

It’s nothing but an excuse for like minded oglers to come together, comment on tits and then move on. I understand that the team working on the promotion of the game wanted to get some attention, but this is the lowest of low hanging fruit. This is a rotten apple that’s fell on the floor. Into a pile of shit.

This irks me so much as games have been showing signs of moving on for some time now. Games have been about characters and have been encouraging people from all walks of life to join in. They’ve been about growing the catch net of the word ‘gamer’ and have been opening everyone’s eyes to the possibilities and legitimacy of computer games as a passion in someone’s life.

Jade Raymond only commented last month that;

“I really do feel it’s time for our medium to grow up…

Games, I think, have even more potential than that given that on top of the narrative side we do have all of the gameplay mechanics and we create rule sets from scratch which can have any kind of meaning embedded in them. It’s not easy to do that, because it requires breaking our recipe and trying to find new recipes, but I think it’s an important thing for us to strive for.”

Jade would now about the games industry needing to grow up, its consumers and ‘fans’ in particular, as she’s been on the receiving end of some needless remarks about her looks. The ignorance and sexism being spouted at her highlighted this particular issue, though it’s hardly been ‘solved’.

The industry needs to show it’s capable of regulating itself and that this kind of trash has no place within it. This is extremely important as pretty soon PEGI will not just be a recommendation on the box, but a legally enforceable requirement.

The industry needs to really show it’s capable of being more than just a haven for insecure, sexist boys. PEGI are to soon become the only ratings board that matter in terms of games as PEGI ratings are looking to be enforcable by law very shortly. PEGI will take over from the BBFC in classifying gmaes, meaning that even the PEGI 12 rating will have to be adhered to. Whether that will have much impact on who’s buying or playing what, we’ll see.

Don’t get me wrong. It takes all sorts and there’s certainly a place for titilation within advertising games, much like it is within sports and movies. The problem here is that it’s always done in such a classless manner that it ends up excluding potential consumers. In future, publishers should try and use their promotional materials to introduce and excite new customers, not just pander to the whims of the ‘safest demographic’.

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5 thoughts on “Growing Pains – How do Games Get Taken Seriously?

  1. This kind of problematic marketing is inextricably linked to the way that companies and consumers think about and categorize games. I don’t think the companies would rely on this kind of marketing if they didn’t have data that seemed to indicate that it was effective. Two things, therefore, are needed: a gaming industry that is more interested in crafting the best products without pandering to a lowest common denominator, and a gaming community that effectively conveys to developers the kinds of games they are most interested in playing. There have been growing rumblings from Ms. Raymond and others to suggest that a change in mindset is beginning to take hold in the industry. I’m excited to see where these shifts take us.

  2. Couldn’t agree more, games want to be considered a serious medium but trash like this just reinforces the stereotype that it’s nothing more than a pass time for horny teenage boys. Advertising for games should focus on the games, listening to the ramblings of a well endowed woman on a ego trip isn’t going to make me any more interested in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. This kind of thing not only shows the games industry as being immature, but effectively alienates women with its highly sexist and exploitive attitude. Things need to change!

  3. I’m pleased to see that this ‘lowest common denominator’ marketing is receiving negative backlash. As with Soul Calibur’s Japanese adverts (a close up of some boobs) had much the same reaction.

    The problem with risks is that they cost money. A lot of companies don’t have money nor do they have the appetite for doing something ‘new’. In they’re current state, a lot of companies are happy to play it safe and stick with the easy money.

    Things will change, but I just don’t see it happening any time soon.

  4. You’d have thought that the industry would be willing to promote to people of all types. Yet again, the lowest hanging fruit, the safe bet, they’re the people that get targeted. It’s all just so samey and ‘safe’.

  5. Maybe the reports on decreasing game sales are a harbinger of changes. The last thing I want to see is the collapse of the industry, of course, but if distributor’s bank accounts start hurting, they’re going to make changes.

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